Cambodia’s islands are under threat. This woman is trying to save them.

A culture of environmental care doesn’t always emerge organically. On the Cambodian island of Koh Sdach, one woman has taken it upon herself to plant the seeds of environmental stewardship.

The handful of market stalls lining the narrow concrete path that serves as the island’s main artery offer the usual assortment of goods found across rural Cambodia: cheap noodles, stacks of Coca-Cola bottles, fake soccer jerseys, household cleaning products – and the plastic bags to carry them home.

Littering the floor between piles of squeezed sugarcane and empty clam shells is an ocean of plastic wrappers, bottles, cups, straws, and empty bags. Swept out of the way, but not out of sight, it’s a stark reminder of the challenges residents of Koh Sdach island and the surrounding archipelago face in living harmoniously with their environment.

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